Time to Write: A Rant

I’m sick and tired of not having enough time to write. It makes me mad that when I get home from my day job it is tough to focus my mind and make good prose.

Time to make the donuts!

Right now, I have fifteen (yes, 15) stories in development. Some of them are micro-fiction pieces, some are flash, and a few are short story length items. The ideas are coming faster than I can provide time to work on them, so I wind up dashing off the first few drafts of the story in one or two sittings, then I go back and painstakingly do my real re-writes.

And while there are 15 pieces available for me to work on right now, one of those pieces is in collaborative development with an editor of a magazine. I happen to have a terrible writerly crush on this editor and I’m thrilled beyond belief to be able to work with them. It’s a tremendous opportunity and I’m going to work my derriere off to please this person.

As a result, when I drag my sorry butt home from working for the man, I go back to work, but this time for myself. And as I put my head into my writing, the time magically disappears and suddenly it goes from 7pm to midnight in a flash. Of course some of this time is spent making cucumber salad (regular readers know what I’m talking about) but the rest of it is all about writing.

In addition to the writing and re-writing I’m doing these days, I’ve got the very words you are reading right now…my blog. The blog is a time sink, there’s no doubt about it, but it gives me the chance to connect with you (Patrick, Scribbla, Louise, Wren and other regular readers) and I wouldn’t skip that for the world. Sometimes I find myself thinking about story ideas, then I remember that I also have to post to the blog and wonder what on earth I’m going to say. Most of the time, I have no idea, by the way… I just let ‘er rip.

As if all that isn’t enough, there’s another duty that I love and won’t give up under any circumstances: my current volunteer work as a slush pile reader. I have to tell you that wading through the slush pile is so entertaining at time, insightful at others, it’s just an education every time I go back to the pile. And the editorial team I’m working with on that journal is top notch and loads of fun, so, I’ll just say it is a guilty pleasure indeed.

After everything I’ve just mentioned, you’d think I’d be done with my responsibility list, but no such luck. As a short story writer, I’ve got to stay on top of my submissions.  I’ve got about 40 submissions outstanding right now, a few I sent back in February this year, but 99% were from July onwards. As I’d expect, I do get lots of rejections, but many of them fall into that “encouraging” bucket, and it helps keep me going.

If any of you out there are working on a time machine please let me know. An extra six hours a day would be nice….

I’ve seen plenty o blog posts about time management for writers out there, what do you do to create more time for your writing? (Not sleeping doesn’t count!)

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11 Responses

  1. Wishing you the best with that story you’re working on with the magazine editor! And thanks for the shout-out 🙂

    I can’t figure out how you only need 6 more hours a day. Try 12.

    • You may not know this Patrick, but other than me, you’ve made the most comments on my blog. I LOVE that! 🙂

      And yeah…. -sigh- 12 hours is probably about right.

      Thanks for the well wishes on the “under development” piece, I’m wracking my brain right now on the re-writes in between bopping back over here to reply to comments. LOL

  2. Wow. My thoughts exactly! If not sleeping doesn’t count – you got me. My Too Much Pressure post touched on this theme. I’ve been feeling that pressure a lot lately, and all I can think of is to just keep going. Not very brilliant I realize, but it’s how I’m coping right now. Keep going Carol, there’s a reason that you are getting opportunities to be a slush-pile reader, work with an editor, gain blog followers, have 40 submissions out there, etc – it’s because you keep going. And for that – you deserve a standing ovation.

    • Hi Wren, yes I saw that post, I’m going to circle back to it later and comment. You’re also right about the keep on keeping on comment. It’s the only way it all gets done – you just do it.

      That said, I still enjoy sleep from time to time!

      Thanks for your comments!
      Carol

  3. My train ride into university about four times a week is almost an hour each way. It is a perfect time out of my day to do some writing – and overhearing conversations and people-watching never hurts in that process either!

    • That is lucky Louise, any opportunity to people watch is great. I don’t know if I could write on a moving train with lots of noise, so good for you that you can make that work!

  4. I feel for you. I constantly ask myself how I can create more time (and energy!) to write. I have no answers, I’m afraid.
    Nonetheless, I wish you nothing but success with your submissions and WIPs. As you know, don’t give up the slush pile. I’d imagine the education you get from reading those is worth every minute spent doing it.
    I guess we can only write, write, write and perhaps someday we’ll get lucky enough to get rid of that pesky thing called a day job.

    • Thanks Scribbla, I agree there is no cure for this disease. Writing is a compulsory activity.

      In terms of getting rid of the pesky thing called a day job, I’d have little hope of that if I continue writing short stories. Short story writing doesn’t pay at all in the worst case, and doesn’t pay much in the best case. Sometimes I think about Jhumpa Lahiri, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection of short stories called

        The Interpreter of Maladies

      , and I wonder how much that affected her financially. I also know Stephen King has a lot to say about getting paid for writing too. His opinion is if you’re not getting paid for it, you’re not a professional writer. I wonder what he thinks about somebody like Joyce Carol Oates, whose short stories are so widely published and anthologized…but who knows if she is able to actually make a living from it.

      I may have to write about this theme – what does success look like for a writer? Or what does success look like for a short story writer?

      • You raise some very good points. I’m optimistic that readerships are changing along with reading formats and publishing options. I believe that the short story will have its day soon, that a lot of readers are looking for short, powerful pieces to read on electronic devices while commuting or waiting. I have no doubt that the shorts will be composited into collections of some kind, which in turn could create all kinds of interesting collaborations between writers to push out publications more frequently, another demand from readers. Just my two cents worth.

        • What you are saying is so true Scribbla – in general readers do seem to be looking for shorter works they can enjoy quickly. I think it’s an outcome of having lived with the internet for so long, our attention spans have dropped.

          Another interesting point embedded in your comment, for me, is that never before has their been a market for micro-fiction and flash fiction as robust as it is today. Many “serious” short story writers are crafting stories of 20 – 30 pages and getting published in “serious” journals that are not available online. This is how it used to be done.

          These days, the electronic journal has made fiction so much more accessible to a reading public than ever before, and in great quantities. It makes me wonder, to your points above, why the micro-payment idea hasn’t caught on more with these journals.

          Regardless, I think you are onto something. I agree that the Kindle, iPad and many other such devices are putting the power into the reader’s hands to access short works of fiction quickly and efficiently. Now the question is, how can writers benefit financially from producing such works to be enjoyed? There is no platform we can point to today that is successfully doing that… or at least I cannot think of one.

          If anyone is reading this that thinks otherwise, please speak up!

  5. […] it was because I wanted to focus my writing energies on creating as a writer. Carol Deminski (https://cdeminski.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/time-to-write-a-rant/) is a blogger/writer I follow, and the questions she posed to me in the comment section of my last […]

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